How is it that I’ve never made a maple syrup pie? Such a Canadian thing and somehow, I hadn’t. I’ve corrected this. Maple pie is not super summery kind of pie in that it doesn’t incorporate berries or stone fruits, but it would be if you added a tumble of raspberries or blueberries over top. And it is when you consider the fact that you make it ahead and chill it in the fridge, then serve up cold slivers (or big wedges to share – it’s pretty intense) with ice cream or vanilla-scented whipped cream. Also, it’s about as easy as it gets to whisk together the eggs, cream, brown sugar and maple syrup and pour it into a crust. It could even be a store-bought crust – I won’t tell.


I’m a sucker for pecan pie in bar form – but particularly when someone else makes them, uses birch syrup, then brings them along, right in the pan, with a knife to cut them into squares on the dock, on a fishing trip on Great Slave Lake. Birch syrup is something you likely don’t have on your shelf – but yes, you can go ahead and use (real!) maple syrup instead. Birch is similar, made with the sap of birch trees rather than maple – its flavour tends to be more complex, and some say not as sweet. And because it requires 100-150 L of sap to produce 1 L of birch syrup (vs about 40 L of sap to make 1 L of maple syrup) and the tapping window is shorter than the opportunity to harvest maple, it’s pretty pricey. But if you live up north rather than out east, it’s more likely what you’re pouring over your pancakes.


I decided this morning that it was spring enough for lemon ricotta pancakes. Unfortunately this meant it was also spring enough to pull on our rubber boots and head out to the mud pit that is our back yard armed with garbage bags and poop scoops and attempt to make it a little less like a slushy poo Slip-n-Slide. The top layers of the glacier behind our house have melted, leaving a thick, icy, dirty underbelly, complete with pieces of Lou’s blankies, socks, kitchen utensils that have been missing since Thanksgiving, and Star Wars action figures half-embedded in ice. (Mike needed to boil the kettle and pour it over Han Solo in order to retrieve him. It was almost like carbonite.) It’s a good thing we were so fortified by breakfast. Remember when I told you how enamoured I was with recipes as a kid? That I had my own recipe box, and took notes, and tore recipes out of magazines? At the time, lemon-ricottaContinue reading